Went Out Looking At Cabinet Saws Tonight...

I'm just starting to get into woodworking and am in the process of setting up a shop, and am now beginning to look at tools.
One of my more immediate needs is a tablesaw (to rip some long lumber to help build the shop itself -- it's a complicated story). I suspect I'll probably end up with a cabinet saw of some sort (since I plan to eventually build kitchen cabinets and some heavy oak Arts & Crafts furniture and I don't want to buy my saw twice), but I haven't actually convinced myself of this yet. (The other alternatives being a good contractor saw or one of the new hybrids.)
So, tonight I toddled down to a local tool merchant (Tried and True Tools in Fridley, MN, a dusty old-style hardware store) to look at some of their machines. I've had some experience with contractor saws, but haven't actually seen a cabinet saw in the flesh yet. (Um, on second thought, maybe that wasn't the -best- choice of phrases... :-)
On the floor they have a PM66 set up, along with a General 650-T50, a General International 50-260, and a Jet SuperSaw (plus a selection of contractor saws and some used equipment -- including a 1950s 12"-14" Rockwell Unisaw that came out of a school woodshop somewhere and has seen a -lot- of use -- for $895).
I dunno what I was expecting -- the heavens to burst open and a chorus of angels to break into song or something -- but in fact the experience was surprisingly underwhelming. They were just great big hunks of iron with a really Spartan user interface: a few bolts, two cranks and a sliding bar :-)
Compared to a contractor saw, it became apparent that it boils down to extra mass, better machining, and a more powerful motor (and maybe a better fence). I suppose this is utterly obvious in retrospect, but like I was saying, I was somehow expecting... more :-)
(For the record, they wanted $2049 for the PM66 complete [3 H.P., I believe, but it may have been 5], $1849 for the General 650-T50 complete, and $1279 for the General International 50-260 [plus $75 for the extension table + $36 for the legs]. In any case, I'd have to pay another $50 for delivery, plus 6.5% state sales tax, plus some more cash to some big burly guys to actually move it down into the shop. For some reason I was expecting the General 650 to be a lot cheaper than it was -- somewhere between a Grizzly 1023 and a Unisaw, but it's actually a bit more expensive than a Unisaw. Since I probably can't justify that kind of change to my wife -- particularly since I haven't actually -built- anything yet -- I'll probably go with a Grizzly 1023 from Amazon and simply put up with the initial delivery and set-up problems people seem to experience with these. Or maybe the General contractor saw. I dunno -- I'll have to keep thinking on it...)
P.S. If I do go Grizzly, should I opt for the equivalent ShopFox instead? Is there any difference in the fit and finish other than the paint?
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Darin notes:

That Rockwell is probably a good buy, but I don't believe the Unisaw was made in 12"/14" (Keith, where are you?)...check the fence, and, because it was a school shop, make sure it isn't 3 phase. See if you can start it up and run a couple boards through. Check arbor run-out (dial indicator in the saw plate may do, but you may have to lift the insert and check the arbor itself).
A lot of use won't hurt these saws as along as 2 things remain good: The trunnions (check by tilting the blade to a variety of angles, checking degrees as you go, and see how smoothly it operates); The arbor bearings. The latter are fairly easy to replace.
Charlie Self "Don't let yesterday use up too much of today." Will Rogers
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Charlie Self wrote:

The saw he saw is/was a Delta/Crescent (1) No. 34-350. It is a 12/14 and if you pop the top off you'd swear you were/are looking at a Unisaw, only way huger. The last time I was at Tried and True there were two of these. One was a mid/late 60's machine. One was single phase. I suspect this is one of those. Anyway, this is the saw Pat Barber bought by accident and hasn't stopped talking about since, and rightfully so.

The nice thing about the 12/14 is it took a non-proprietary motor. Typically these saw run in the mid thousand ($1200/$1500) range. Originally I think they sold for the equivalent of $4000ish in 2004 dollars.
These are the last saw you'll ever buy/need.
(1) The saw it is SWAGed was designed by Delta but built at the Crescent works in Leetonia, OH hence the Delta/Crescent moniker.
UA100, who did find an Delta LTA switch box with a No. 132 switch for $38 at Tried and True (last one on eBay went for $200ish)...
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Ohhhh Sooooo True:
Here is da saw in question:
http://home.att.net/~mboceanside/wsb/html/view.cgi-photo.html--SiteID-638867.html http://home.att.net/~mboceanside/wsb/html/view.cgi-photo.html--SiteID-639331.html The picture doesn't tell the "entire" story...
The 34-350 is NOT a Unisaw...
The correct name is 12"-14" Tilting Arbor table saw.
The cast iron top measures 39"x48" with no tables attached.
The saw comes in at a dainty 830 Lbs. (Unisaw weight is 380 lbs)
The motor is a standard frame and can be replaced very easily.
The original motor has a weight of 130 lbs.
My saw was built in 04/66 and will out cut most of the saws described in this thread.
Ohhhhh.. I almost forgot... I paid $165 at a school auction.
Unisaw A100 wrote:

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On Wed, 05 May 2004 15:06:13 +0000, Pat Barber wrote:

It's the gloat that wouldn't die! Run!
mumble...'course I'd still be gloating too...mutter
--
Joe Wells


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This is how "justified" my cabinet saw. It cost me $2K in material that I (wild ass guess) assume would have cost me $7000 to buy.. at least 5 anyway. I had also been enjoying this hobby for a decade and there was no question that I would enjoy the investment for years.
I did my cabs in 3 runs... to get some basic functionality, and them to wrap up the job.
1. 2 (6-door) runs of base cabs, plus a (6-door) run of uppers 2. Built-ins 3. Pantry
After the 1st 2 runs, I found that one places where (modest) error was creeping into the carcases was from handling large sheet stock. I significant outfeed table really helped in that regard. I suggest considering building one *before* you do large casework with sheet stock.
Snip...

Nice audio/visual :-)
-- but in fact the experience

Well, you're right. But if all that iron doesn't give you a woodie, maybe you should take up needlepoint (just kidding).
After using a Jet cabinet saw for a couple of years, I get the willies when I use my Dad's mid-level Delta contractor's saw. It does not "feel" as solid /safe/predictable". That's not scientific, or quantifiable but it it works for me.
I *enjoy* using my saw. It is not simply a means to an end. If you enjoy the journey and not just the destination, a cabinet saw will pay for itself over time in grins.
YMMV
Steve
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When a "what should I buy" question comes up, it invariably ends up with one side suggesting Unisaw as minimum and the other side saying a used benchtop with 8" blade is more than enough. It is not just cutting the wood, it is how you do the job. Nice tools are fun to use.
Applies to everything in life. Look at the parking lot at work. Some drive luxury cares they can barely afford because they like all the goodies, others that make big bucks drive an old Pinto because they take pride in how much money they saved in gas.
Buy what you are comfortable with. Ed
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Well... I believe that you exaggerated on the low end there. But your point is valid.

Absolutely.
I have nit to pick with folks who by expensive cars (or expensive saws for that matter) who say the *NEED* them.
Most of us *need* a car to get to work, but most of us don't *need* a BMW. I am not a BMW basher. I'd love to own one. However I believe that the entry in the personal income statement for a $50,000 car should read like this:
$10,000 - Transportation expense $40,000 - Entertainment and penile compensation expense.
by all means drive a nice car and enjoy it.... just call it what it is.
FWIW I am happy to drive a car with 110,000 miles on it because it enables me to be a bit more extravigant in the shop.

Amen.
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I'm pretty comfortable with my delta contracotrs saw. Does everything I need.
-Dan V.
wrote:

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Darin wrote:

I have a 1023. I also have a fairly old unisaw, which I don't use. When I see people dread the grizzly, I have to wonder if they've been misinformed. My 1023 was delivered to California four days after I ordered it, and it arrived with it's packing intact. I cleaned off the cosmoline and put it together in a couple of hours, and spent a couple of hours the next day tuning it. Aside from some minor adjustments, I have never had to do anything major to the saw since I put it together. Grizzly is one of the rare companies that provide great value for the money. The saw cuts straight and true, and I should think it would be adequate for any hobbyist or even a new shop. I'm just a hobbyist, but I know a good tools when I see them, and I assure you, the Grizzly is a good tool. Ask how many people here are disappointed with their 1023, and I doubt you'll find even one. I'm not saying the powermatic is inferior, but the extra thousand bucks will buy you a good jointer and a mortiser, which you're gonna need.
The keys to turning out quality work are patience, consistent measuring technique, and the ability to learn from mistakes (practice). You can achieve good results from a contractor saw if you're willing to put in a little extra work. I know this is considered high treason in some circles, but you don't have to have a top of the line saw to turn out great work. If you have a good fence, a flat table and true bearings, and a good blade, you'll get perfect cuts every time. Get the 1023. If you don't like it after you get it, you'll be able to sell it for very close to what you paid for it, and sometimes you can get more than retail for a saw that's already been set up and tuned.
Good luck, and I can't wait to see some pics of your work!
-- -linux_lad To verify that this post isn't forged, click here: http://www.spoofproof.org/verify.php?sig 64cabb33814f0f8ed2f5cae7e7a114
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I'll vouch for the 1023. I've had mine for about a month (1023SL). So far so good. Delivery was quick. setup was quick. Very little "tuning" was needed. I'm very happy and aside from a prettier color, I can't imagine needing anything more. What more is there than straight, consistent cuts? Mechanical dependability? Jury is still out on that one for me, but that thing is like a tank.
Brian
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Thanks for the feedback. I think I've come to the conclusion that the Grizzly is the best one for the money. I've spent about a week pondering and researching and soliciting opinions -- and, being the nerd I am, even made a spreadsheet comparing the specs of my leading choices.
All things considered, it seems obvious that the Grizzly is the best machine for the money -- assuming it arrives intact and everything is flat, square and true.
Now to go to the Oracle (my dad) for his advice :-)
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I have been in similar situation. First, I was leaningtowards PM66 and 650-T50, but then gained more trust towards Grizzly. Today I made an order for G5959Z (12", 5HP). I know that it is cheper than PM and General and I expect it to be as good or even better. Once I get it, I will let you know about my impressions.
Cheers, Ollie
PS. I failed twice to get my order through Amazon and made the order directly from Grizzly.

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I'm anxious to hear about this monster myself.
Don

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Let me toss in my 2 cents. I recently purchased the Delta X5. It wasn't my first choice, it was actually my second. The General 650 was my first. However, the Delta was so close that after ordering the General from my local dealer (100 miles away) and 7 weeks later still having issues getting it from Canada, I gave up and ordered the Delta from the local Woodcraft dealer. I considered the Grizzly, but then I remembered one VERY important thing, that's a whole lot iron/weight to be trying to replace if/when I decided to move up to another saw. I think the best advice I was given was buy smart, which doesn't always mean the most expensive, nor the least expensive. In this case just think about what happens if you decide to replace it. The money you save now on the Grizzly may not be the best option should you decide to buy something else. For the record I don't think there is anything wrong with Grizzly, however when I looked at what the total cost was to get identical saws, it was only about $400 difference. I decided that I would rather pay the extra to keep the money in North America (which is why ultimately my choice boiled down to General and Delta -- PM was a bit too much for me). But, those are all decisions you'll have to consider.
Wayne
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